For those who may not know, Cruise to the Edge is one of several music festivals that has taken to the seas in recent years. Having now been on two of these Yes branded cruises, as well as Progressive Nation at Sea, I will continue to say that these water based festivals are the single best festival experiences you can have, along with also most likely being the most expensive. Through this episode we have music from many of the bands that performed, as well as commentary on the cruise and the individual shows. Information on the next Cruise to the Edge has already come out on Facebook, and it will expand to 5 days at sea through early February 2018. Keep an eye on their site here for more information in the future.
Finally, while I usually use album art or promotional photos with the episode, tonight I’m taking one from the cruise experience. Even though it’s not credited on the photo, I happen to know this one was taken by the awesome Joel Barrios of Norrsken photography. Chances are you’ve seen some of Joel‘s music related work at some point, and he did a fantastic job shooting on the cruise, so if you fancy please give his Facebook page a like here.
Dream Theater – The Glass Prison
John Wesley – Once a Warrior
John Lodge – 10,000 Light Years Ago
Flying Colors – Kayla
Transatlantic – We All Need Some Light
Haken – Celestial Elixir
Pain of Salvation – In the Passing Light of Day
District 97 – Death By a Thousand Cuts
The Neal Morse Band – Sloth
Bad Dreams – Closer
Spock’s Beard – On a Perfect Day
Yes – Into the Lens
Frost* – Numbers
Stick Men – Plutonium
Genesis – Firth of Fifth
Liquid Tension Experiment – Acid Rain
Dream Theater – The Shattered Fortress
Our first normal broadcast of 2017 brings with it a feature for the first major release of the year, In the Passing Light of Day from Pain of Salvation. I’m not going to spend too much time on the album, because Joe already graced the site with a very insightful review here. While I personally was not turned off by the band’s Road Salt albums, I know many fans were, and if you were one of those people I truly think the band will bring you back into the fold with this release. While my favorite songs may differ from what Joe had in his review, I certainly agree with his overall very strong “A” grade on the album. And what is extra exciting is that American fans may get to see a lot of this material on the road as the band will be doing a full tour! Here are the full dates:
Feb. 7-11 Tampa, FL – Mexico – Cruise to the Edge
Feb. 12 Tampa, FL, The Orpheum
Feb. 14 Houston,TX, The Scout bar
Feb. 15 Dallas, TX, Gas Money
Feb. 16 Kansas City, MO, The Riot Room
Feb. 18 Chicago, IL, Reggies
Feb. 19 Detroit, MI, The Token Lounge
Feb. 21 Toronto, ON, Mod Club
Feb. 22 Quebec, QC, Le Cercle
Feb. 23 Montreal, QC, Le Tulipe
Feb. 24 Buffalo, NY, Iron Works
Feb. 26 New York, NY, The Marlin Room
And finally, don’t forget to buy the album here, and in case you need more convincing, the video for “Reasons” is below for your viewing pleasure.
Next up is some huge news, included in this podcast only thanks to my tardiness. On the broadcast on Wednesday I informed everyone that a new Ayreon album was on the way and it was to be titled The Source. Normally I would post the podcast later in the evening and that’s all we would know, but a day later we’ve got a lot more info, and one of the coolest videos I’ve seen in recent years! The album is due out April 28th and the 12+ minute video of the first track features every single vocalist on the album. You can choose from a myriad of pre-order choices here, and check out the awesome video below.
Although I don’t have much other info, it’s worth noting that April 28th will also see the release of Grimspound from Big Big Train. In more immediate release news Blackfield has the album V arriving on February 10th and you can pre-order that here. Next up is Tim Bowness releasing Lost in the Ghost Light on February 17th (order here), and The Mute Gods releasing Tardigrades Will Inherit the Earth on February 24th (order here). You can check out a track from each of those releases below.
Finally comes the tour news. Iron Maiden and Ghost will be hitting the road together and you can get full info and dates here. And just announced Coheed and Cambria will be touring, playing From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness in its entirety. They will joined by The Dear Hunter, and you can get a full list of dates here.
Dream Theater – Outcry
Pain of Salvation – On a Tuesday
John Wesley – A Way You’ll Never Be
Ghost – He Is
Iron Maiden – Empire of the Clouds
The Mute Gods – We Can’t Carry On
Pandora – The Way You Are
Tim Bowness – You Wanted to be Seen
Big Big Train – London Plane
Pain of Salvation – Reasons
The Dear Hunter – Mustard Gas
Coheed and Cambria – From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness
Kansas – What’s On My Mind
Yes – Heart of the Sunrise
Pain of Salvation – Full Throttle Tribe
Ayreon – The Charm of the Seer
Threshold – Watchtower on the Moon
Stick Men – Mantra
Trusties – A Dream I Never Had
Blackfield – Oxygen
Symphony X – Wicked
Firewind – Insanity
Pain of Salvation – The Taming of a Beast
Band: Pain of Salvation
Album: In the Passing Light of Day
Available: January 13th, 2017 via InsideOut
In the Passing Light of Day: A Surprising Masterpiece in the Wake of Changed Lives
In the Passing Light of Day is quite the milestone record, being the first new Pain of Salvation album in 6 years. It’s also the first proper album with the “new band” following major lineup changes through 2011 and 2012, the first album since Daniel Gildenlow‘s recovery from a near-fatal illness in 2014, and the first album in several offerings where – at least it seems – Daniel Gildenlow is not the primary songwriter on every track. What further cements its significance is the return to the stylistic parameters nearing “progressive metal” that we haven’t heard from the band since 2004’s Be (or, some might say 2002’s Remedy Lane). And, perhaps most importantly, this album is one of Pain of Salvation‘s finest offerings.
The first several songs are some of the most energetic, frenetic, and well composed songs in the Pain of Salvation discography. The album opens with “On a Tuesday”, a 10-minute juggernaut that hardly feels as long as it is. The track seems to deal heavily with Gildenlow‘s near death experience, and while dark subject matter has often occupied space in Pain of Salvation‘s discography, this time it stings with a biting honesty and authenticity. “I close my hands, not in prayer, not in prayer, but in fists,” Gildenlow whisper-sings, just before the song erupts in anger. Overall, “On a Tuesday” is a very well-balanced composition that hits a perfect balance between driven, energetic parts, and softer, more pensive sections.
“Tongue of God” follows with the fake-out. What initially postures as a soft piano ballad i.e., Road Salt, morphs into one of the band’s most potent short anthems; something that takes the Remedy Lane sound and infuses it with the grunge, dirt, and gravel of the Road Salt albums. That formula turns out to be where the album is most effective – it’s not a rehash of Pain of Salvation‘s early days as much as it’s a natural evolution of everything the band have done before. This development continues with next track, “Meaningless”, which is another haunting rocker that manages to carry on this aesthetic despite being a reworked version of a song from guitarist Ragnar Zolberg‘s previous band, Sign.
We get a break from what amounts to 20 minutes of grungy metal via “Silent Gold”, a piano-driven ballad that features very well-performed and emotive vocals from Gildenlow. But the calm doesn’t last long, as the energy level ramps back up with “Full Throttle Tribe”, another long epic.
Fans will immediately recognize “Full Throttle Tribes’” Remedy Lane type rhythm and feel, and the callbacks to The Perfect Element style rapping vocals. Unlike the first long song thus far, “On a Tuesday”, “Full Throttle Tribe” does overstay its welcome by a few minutes. The vocals and instrumental feel a bit disjointed, and the song lacks the glue that would otherwise help keep other songs on the album cohesive. But the chorus is solid, featuring an infectious melody and vocals layered sweetly in a way that Gildenlow pulls off so well.
Subsequently, “Reasons” kicks in with one of the heaviest riffs on the album, though it is ironically one of the album’s more progressive and theatrical tracks. Once again, we hear Gildenlow‘s rap-vocals over odd time signatures and heavy riffs, but this time more reminiscent of Be. It’s an intense track, and as uncomfortable as the unwanted epiphany that the lyrics describe.
The pace and general feel of the album changes somewhat here, as the songs become softer for the remainder of the album. “Angels of Broken Things” is a more somber, down-tempo, and haunting number, but its atmosphere slowly builds and coalesces into one of Pain of Salvation‘s most impressive guitar solos yet. “The Taming of a Beast” is overall a livelier track, but akin to Road Salt in terms of an arrangement, with fuzzed out guitars and a vintage-sounding electric piano driving the song. Gildenlow vocally channels Leonard Cohen here, and it works, as should be no surprise to anyone who has heard Pain of Salvation’s cover of “Hallelujah” on Ending Themes. The next song “If This is the End”, is an acoustic ballad that eventually builds into an incredibly concentrated outburst of violence, but it feels somewhat like a prelude to the album’s closer, “The Passing Light of Day”.
Once again, the album takes a turn back to the subject of mortality and Gildenlow‘s illness. A large portion of the song is dominated by a low, soft singing over a minimalist, clean guitar. The mood is nostalgic and remorseful, rather than angsty or angry, and change of pace fits perfectly. “Some candles last an hour/and others one full day/but I want to be like the sun/that steady flame that burns all along”, Gildenlow muses. As the simultaneous admission of ego and one’s own mortality brings the album thematically full circle, the guitars swell into a burst. What follows is almost reminiscent of Devin Townsend Project; Gildenlow‘s voice sores as he delivers lines expounding on the lessons learned from overcoming great personal adversity; a wall of driven guitars scream underneath.
In the Passing Light of Day may have been billed as a return to Pain of Salvation‘s progressive metal roots – and it is – but the album is more of an evolutionary jump forward. The elements that made up albums such as Be, Scarsick and Road Salt are still present, but this time woven back into a more traditional Pain of Salvation format. Additionally, the trauma Gildenlow underwent with his illness is inevitably on full display; changing the music and lyrical themes just as it undeniably changed Gildenlow‘s life. This combo of factors is why In the Passing Light of Day is such a rewarding listen. It manages to push Pain of Salvation forward into new unexplored territory, but fans will be relieved to hear that the music is recognizably Pain of Salvation.
Joe’s Grade: A